TOM BARRY T.D. CALLS FOR GUIDANCE ON HEDGE CUTTING
DEPUTY Tom Barry has asked that local authorities give clear and specific guidelines to landowners about their responsibilities when it comes to rural hedge-cutting and when those hedges can be cut.
“Landowners need clarity as to when and what they can cut. Perhaps local authorities could arrange for courses which landowners could attend outlining the guidelines in relation to hedge-cutting.
“When Cork County Council stopped cutting hedges, they had been spending about €1m a year on this work. Farmers could spend €2m/€3m on this work in total which would be a significant contribution into the local economy. There is, however, a large element of uncertainty in terms of what is the right thing to do.
“Landowners want to carry out this work but they want to be able to do it in an agreed fashion. When the council stopped doing this work; the simply cited the legislation and said ‘it’s the landowners’ responsibility’. That’s fine, but the landowners now need guidelines and information.
“I will also be asking that consideration be given to providing tax relief for the completion of this work by landowners. This investment will be very beneficial for the local economy and will, of course, have a significant impact on road safety.